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Arrest Warrant Sought for Sit-in Protest `Mastermind`

Posted January. 30, 2009 07:10,   


Prosecutors will seek an arrest warrant for the leader of an evictees group from Seoul’s Yongsan district “Lee” on charges of obstruction of justice and planning the illegal occupation of a building.

The suspect was taken into police custody for his alleged role in the deadly standoff between protesters and police last week that killed six people.

Prosecutors yesterday said they questioned Lee on whether the National Council of Victims of Forced Evictions masterminded the sit-in protest. They are also tracking down the trail of the money collected by senior council members allegedly used for the protest.

A large amount is known to have been spent on paint thinner, golf balls and building materials for establishing the watch tower used in the protest.

Prosecutors said they found an additional fund collected by the evictees to stage a protest.

They failed, however, to secure records of phone conversations between Lee and Nam Gyeong-nam, another key council member, since Lee used a cell phone registered under another person’s name.

The presidential office also reiterated its stance on Seoul police commissioner Kim Seok-ki, who is under pressure to resign over the deadly clash, saying, “We still believe a thorough investigation should come first.”

Presidential spokesman Lee Dong-kwan told a news briefing, “President Lee Myung-bak will appear on a TV debate Friday and express his opinions on the deadly clash in Seoul’s Yongsan district. The fate of the Seoul police chief remains undecided and we have no plan to change our stance on the issue.”

“The prosecutors’ announcement will play the most crucial role in getting to the bottom of the case, but that doesn’t mean it will be all we need.”

Kim is the president’s nominee to take over as National Police Agency chief, but is under pressure to drop out due to the deadly clash.

myzodan@donga.com yongari@donga.com